One-Day Restaurant Seminar May 13


One-Day Restaurant Seminar Teaches Systems and Shortcuts

Independent restaurant owners invited to learn ways to cut costs and increase sales

What: Controlling the Most Important Number in Your Restaurant… Prime Cost with a focus on Cost of Goods Sold

Who: David Scott Peters, trainer, coach, speaker and founder of

When: May 13

Where: World Headquarters

1125 W. Pinnacle Peak Rd., Ste. 105
Phoenix, AZ 85027

What Attendees Will Learn:

- Why industry standards don’t apply to their restaurants
- What expenses make up this magic number called prime cost
- How to calculate this magic number and what makes it what it is
- How to easily and create a budget and become a proactive management team
- Fool-proof systems for reducing your food cost and making more money
- How to turn the product on shelves into cash in the bank
- How to cost out recipes so that money is made on every menu item
- How to use the POS system to measure how well kitchen operates with one report
- Menu engineering practices the are guaranteed to make more money
- Ways to improve managers’ performance

Additional Information:

Restaurant Expert David Scott Peters teaches the key ways independent restaurant owners can immediately impact the bottom line, get more cash in the bank and motivate employees. Attendees to this seminar begin to make more money with their current restaurant menu just by digging in with the systems David teaches in this one-day seminar.

To learn more about the seminar, visit and click the “Seminar” tab at the top of the page.

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Your Profitability is A Simple Word Problem

By David Scott Peters

UntitledThere is one, and really only one, system that ultimately is the key to your restaurant running profitably. And that simple system is so easy even a junior high school student could follow it. Really! Because it is simply a group of word problems… the same one, over and over again.

That simple system or word problem is a recipe costing card.

Do you remember in junior high when you were first introduced to word problems? You know the one… “If a train leaves New York City at 2 p.m. traveling at 50 mph and another train leaves Philadelphia at 3 p.m. traveling at 75 mph, and the distance between the train stations is 100.7 miles, at what mile marker will they both meet?”

Well, putting together the key to running a profitable restaurant is similar to a word problem. It’s a combination of ingredients, portion and costs worked out to a per-item price. It’s similar in format to a recipe, except it focuses on the costs of each item instead of instructions for making the recipe.

Having recipe costing cards allows you to make smart business decisions to ensure your profitability, such as what to charge, whether you need to find less expensive products, if an item needs to change or even drop from the menu, etc. The only way to know the answers to these questions is to know what things cost.

I have  worked with more than 1,000 restaurant owners at this point in my career, on top of the years I spent in restaurants. Through my experience I have seen one mistake repeated over and over again: restaurants operating without recipe costing cards.

So if it’s so simple, like I say, why do so many restaurant owners, chefs, kitchen mangers and back-of-house managers run away from this process and simply not do them?

Generally for a few basic reasons:

1) They don’t know how.

2) There are so many recipes that the sheer number scares them.

3) They don’t think they have to because they inventory, order and pay for the products, so they generally know how much each recipe costs.

Are any of these reasons striking you as familiar?

Well, the good news is, it really is so simple a junior high school student can do it. There is nothing really difficult about it. There are no algebraic equations to follow, no funky mathematical algorithm, no scientific calculator needed, nothing scary. It’s simple arithmetic: addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.

And yes, before you ask… you must complete a recipe costing card for everything you make in your restaurant. That includes batch recipes, sides, sauces and daily specials. The only way we can truly ensure we are going to make money is to know exactly what each recipe costs.

While a restaurant might have gotten away with this in the past, because food costs weren’t at record levels and new minimum wage increases weren’t anywhere close to the highs they are now, in today’s marketplace a restaurant MUST know how much every dish costs before they sell it. There simply isn’t enough margin in the restaurant business to continue being sloppy in your operations.

And you can’t re-engineer your menu without doing your recipe costing cards first!

If you want to run a profitable restaurant… YOU MUST DO YOUR RECIPE COSTING CARDS!

Do one or two cards a day and within a month or two they’ll all be done. Then, updating the costs on a monthly basis will be easy and fast.

And remember… they are so simple to do that even a junior high school student can do them.

Download this special report that shows you how to make your recipe costing cards.


David Scott Peters is a restaurant expert, speaker, coach and trainer for independent restaurant owners. He is the developer of SMART Systems Pro, an online restaurant management software program helping the independent restaurant owner remain competitive and profitable in an industry boxed in by the big chain restaurants. He is best known as the SMART Systems guy who can walk into any restaurant and find $10,000 in undiscovered cash before he hits the back door… Guaranteed! Learn more at

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XP Support Deadline Passed – How Is Your Security?

Guest Blog Post By Patrick Solum of Retail Data Systems

Experts predicting a “tsunami of viruses” as operating system support ends.

MSFT_logo_rgb_C-Gray_DLet’s face it, the media loves a technical disaster story. In 2000 we had Y2K, and a plethora of security breaches and viruses and worms (Remember Nimda?) that seem to never be as big as what we are told they will be. These items caused lot of inconvenience and in some cases some serious damage but nothing that wasn’t patched, and repaired. We adapted, learned and moved on.

So why should we get concerned about XP end of life when other technical “disasters” that either happened or were looming turned out to be much ado about nothing? It’s simple really. The people in charge of updating, patching and preventing are not going to be doing it anymore as of April 8, 2014.

So what?

The Windows XP operating system in April is going to be “as is” and there will be no more patching, no more updates. This will make the machines that are currently operating on Windows XP vulnerable and a soft and relatively easy-to-exploit target. Even currently with patches, the malware infection rate for a Windows XP machine is over 2 times greater than that of a Windows 7 machine and it will get worse.

Additionally with the install base for Windows XP being as high as 43% from some reports, XP will be a major target of those looking to exploit systems for financial gain. Additional reports even speculate that more sophisticated groups are withholding code in hopes that the vulnerabilities they have discovered remain unpatched after end of life in April. For more information read Microsoft’s own Security Intelligence Report

For most Point of Sale customers on a modern touch screen point of sale system the problem is not the front of house POS system. Many, but not all, run XP embedded, which has another couple of years of life with end of life set for that on December 31, 2016.

The issue is in the back office computers. Many back office systems, even those deployed in the last few years, run XP Pro and most are exposed to the Internet. Firewalls, PCI compliance and other solutions can only protect so far and an outdated system like this is likely to cause you to fall out of PCI compliance no matter what other safeguards are in place.

There are other reasons that an update should be in the works for any machine you have still on XP. Technology changed. Windows XP just doesn’t work with many newer and peripherals like printers, scanners, scales and other devices. Why? It’s more than a decade old and the machine it was designed to be installed on just doesn’t have the horse power to drive these new devices. Not to mention the leaps and bounds software has taken. Newer programs just don’t work on a machine that was designed to surf the web, check email and run a few programs. To put it in perspective… 12 years ago, when it was released, the PC it was designed for had less power than an iPhone does now.

If you have questions or concerns about the risk your business may be taking with your current operating environment, please visit Retail Data Systems windows XP end of life page or call your local office.


Patrick Solum is the marketing director for Retail Data Systems, the largest provider of Point Of Sale Hardware and Software, in North America. To learn more, email Patrick at or visit

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7 Steps to Keep Profits Coming in the Back Door

By David Scott Peters

BackDoor wPurchaseOrderIf there’s one thing I’m likely to focus on in any restaurant, no matter who I’m working with, it’s the back door. Why? Because it’s where most restaurants bleed cash and it’s the easiest to fix.

Your back door is where you do a very important segment of your business – it’s where you order and receive your product.

I stress the importance of having systems in place to make your life easier and make you a lot more money. Well, here’s a step-by-step system that will help you do both of those things.

1)    Plan where deliveries are to be accepted. If you have the room, the best place to check deliveries in is in the walk-in cooler. Most of the foods you’re receiving are perishable products and can only be out of a safe temperature zone for a total of four hours before it’s dangerous to prepare and serve. And the four hours is in total. You have no idea how many times and for how long the product has already been out of the safe temperature zone from the manufacturer to the distributor to your door. And where I live in Arizona, it can be magnified when it’s 112 degrees outside and you’re the last stop on a delivery route.

2) Work with your purveyors in advance to set up receiving time. Bring your orders in when you have trained staff to check them in (see step four). Make sure they do not attempt to deliver your order during busy times such as lunch. If the truck is running late and shows up during a busy time for your restaurant, you must refuse delivery and ask them to come back. Accepting a delivery during a rush not only affects your guest by slowing up the kitchen, but also allows for mistakes in the order to slip by — costing you real money.

3)    Limit your delivery driver’s access to only delivery areas. Not that I’m saying all delivery drivers are dishonest, but some are. If you let them have full range of your restaurant, one day you might be missing a bottle or two of your most expensive tequila. So keep honest people honest and limit their access to the rest of your restaurant.

4)    Have either management or a trained key employee receive orders. This is one of the most important steps. If you want to squeeze every penny of profit out of your restaurant, the person receiving your orders must be trained in your procedure or you could be losing money.

5) When checking in your delivery, follow these steps:

a. Check invoices for accuracy against your PO (hung at the back door) for each item, quantity and prices. This is your opportunity to make any adjustments to your bill before you pay more than your were quoted.

b. Check products for quality and condition. For example, you’ll want to open the case of tomatoes and dig down to the bottom. This way you can make sure the bottom of the box wasn’t packed with bad product before you accept them.

c. Check temperatures of any refrigerated products to make sure they are not out of the safe zone. The most expensive chicken wings in the world are those you accepted that have already turned.

d. Weigh products

i. Have a large scale in your receiving area. (If you don’t have one… go get one!)

ii. Check it routinely for accuracy.

iii. Remove products from packaging and/or ice before weighing and compare to the                invoice weight.

e. If there are any discrepancies or problems with products that have to be returned, have the driver make note on the invoice or fill out a credit memo immediately, before signing the invoice. I had a restaurant owner at one of my first workshops tell me that he started doing this and not telling the distributor for about a week. He discovered that he was losing more than $600 a month to incorrect weights.

f. Remember that once you sign an invoice, you are responsible for payment as shown on the invoice.

6) Have stocking procedures in place as follows:

a. Get any refrigerated products into walk-in coolers or freezers immediately. Again, product that turns is money down the drain.

b. Remove and date any fresh product as may be required by your health code authority.

c. Remove any excess packaging and break down boxes as soon as possible. If you’re throwing boxes away without doing this, I can guarantee you’re paying more for your rubbish removal. Every penny counts.

d. If you are breaking down all of your boxes, it is advised that you keep the label from each. If there is a problem with the product that is discovered later, your purveyor will need to know batch numbers and dates to find out if it is a larger problem and to replace the product.

e. Make sure whoever is stocking is trained to use the first in/first out (FIFO) method in stocking.

7) Have clerical procedures in place as follows:

a. All invoices are verified and signed before a check is written if you are on COD.

b. A copy of the invoice goes to the kitchen manager or chef and a copy goes to whoever is in charge of the checkbook.

c. Immediately update prices in your inventory spreadsheet (or in SMART Systems Pro).


Following this simple-to-use system can have a dramatic effect on not only your bottom line, but on your bank account as well. In fact, at the end of one of my Mastermind Group Coaching calls, one of my Elite Members shared that implementing these systems for ordering and receiving food reduced the amount of food he has in his three restaurants, motivated his kitchen managers, resulted in cleaner more organized walk-ins and most importantly, it put more than $6,000 back into his bank account.

So what are you waiting for? Follow these simple steps at your back door and start making more money.

David Scott Peters is a restaurant expert, speaker, coach and trainer for independent restaurant owners. He is the developer of SMART Systems Pro, an online restaurant management software program helping the independent restaurant owner remain competitive and profitable in an industry boxed in by the big chain restaurants. He is best known as the SMART Systems guy who can walk into any restaurant and find $10,000 in undiscovered cash before he hits the back door… Guaranteed! Learn more at

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10 Commandments of Promotional Marketing

Guest Blog by Jay Siff of Moving Targets

Oh ye of little faith. If you’re a small, independent restaurant, you’re probably convinced you can’t possibly compete in the marketing arena against those big chains with their huge ad budgets and big-time ad agencies.

Actually, nothing could be further from the truth.

In my 15-plus years as a developer of marketing programs for local merchants, I’ve helped many independents make it amidst a crowded local restaurant scene. And while there is no shortage of good ideas out there, those ideas can all be organized around a few key marketing principles every restaurant owner or manager should know. Master them, and you can compete against anyone, big or small.

Using the disciplines outlined here, your establishment can attract new customers, regain lost ones, generate referrals, increase per-table sales, stimulate repeat visits, build customer loyalty and much more. I call them The 10 Commandments of Promotional Marketing:

1. TAKE YOUR CUSTOMER’S POINT OF VIEW. When you promote your business, whether in brochures, on table tents, or in a direct mailing, lead with what’s in it for your customer — not for you. Don’t say, “Buy one, get one free”; instead say, “Get one free with every purchase.”  People deal in their own self-interest. Make sure your offers reflect that fact.

2. MARKET TO YOUR CURRENT CUSTOMERS. Every day scores of people enter your establishment who have already made the decision to buy from you. These are pre-sold, active customers. Allowing them to exit without asking for personal information — especially a street or email address — is a big mistake.

3. BE THE HOMETOWN FAVORITE. It’s a fact that people have a soft spot for neighborhood merchants who support local causes. Sponsor a community event. Donate food for a good cause. Tell your local little league that any winning team showing up at your door in its entirety for ice cream will receive extra scoops for free. Your support and good will, expressed in ways that are important to your community, will make your restaurant the go-to place in town.

4. GIVE AWAY YOUR PRODUCT. Have you ever considered that giving a 100 percent discount one time, may be more valuable in the long run than a 10 percent discount offered on 10 occasions? Free meals to new neighbors and frequent diners are excellent examples.

5. PRACTICE “FOUR WALLS” MARKETING. Every area of your restaurant should be well thought out as to how it will promote your product. This gets people to spend more at each visit.

6. BE OUTRAGEOUS. Wow your customers. Give them a customer experience so unique, so compelling, that they can’t resist coming back.

7. CREATE A SWIPE FILE. The old saying, “If you can’t think of a good idea, steal one,” isn’t unprincipled when it comes to marketing. Hang onto ads or direct mail pieces that catch your eye.

8. TRACK EVERY CAMPAIGN YOU RUN. Ask your new customers how they heard about you, to find out if your ads are working. Whenever you run a promotion, collect the coupons or certificates along with daypart and party size data. Keep a pad or clipboard by the phone to record information. It’s the only way to know which efforts are making you money—and which aren’t.

9. DON’T BE THE COUPON KING. While sampling, discounting and gifting all work well to promote product trial, you must be careful not to overdo it and create a “discounter” image. If you do, your customers will simply become hooked on coupons and wait for the next one to come along. In the meantime your sales and profit opportunities suffer.

10. IF YOU HIRE PROFESSIONALS, HIRE PROVEN WINNERS. If you’re convinced you need advertising or PR agency help, that’s fine. But don’t be fooled by slick presentations. Check references to ensure that the agency or consultant has a track record of success in the restaurant field. Otherwise you’ll likely be throwing your money away.

As a small independent, you have to base your decisions on what will generate a solid return. Demand results from every marketing effort you undertake, and you’ll find your money well spent.

JAY SIFF is a principal of Moving Targets (, a Perkasie, Pa.-based provider of new resident direct marketing programs for small business. Jay can be reached at (800) 926-2451 or

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Tip to Lower Food Cost

Proper Portioning


If you run a 30% food cost and over portion by 10%, you will raise your food cost to 33 percent.






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How NOT to Mangle a Menu Update

By Brad Hackert

Delicious fresh fried shrimpRecently I was elated to find one of my local restaurants did a menu update after what seemed like years! The menus arrived at the tables nicely creased and with vivid colors on the cover, and I was inspired to order a few of the new items to share with the table.

One of the appetizers we tried was a wonderful coconut shrimp appetizer served with a mango habanero sauce. The appetizer arrived and looked awesome! The plump (probably in the 21/25 range) tail-on shrimp was of good size and hand breaded with golden brown, sweet coconut breading. The side sauce was also pretty delicious, the sweetness of the mango left just enough of the habanero heat uncovered to compliment the sweet shrimp perfect.

It was a very simple, but well executed dish. I was really impressed, especially because of the caliber of the restaurant. It was definitely something I would order again!

Now fast forward two weeks. I had literally just arrived back in town from traveling across the country from a productive consult and my internal fuel tank was dangerously close to E. I had forgone the masses of bag to fryer cuisine in multiple airports all day, and I was ready to eat something good. I quickly found myself ordering the same coconut shrimp appetizer without even looking at the menu. Boy was I in for a surprise.

When the server brought it out, I thought it was a joke. On the plate in front of me were six butterflied shrimp that looked like something out of Jurassic Park, completely petrified and dark brown. I was speechless as the server asked if I needed anything else and then quickly retreated to the safe confines of the server station.

The shrimp were a far cry from the hand breaded, tasty morsels I had devoured a couple weeks before and for some reason the mango habanero sauce had changed to a vomit brown color and developed some floating scallions in it. I quickly realized the dish wasn’t meant for human consumption.

Since it was no longer meant for my dinner, I endeavored to determine if there was actually any real shrimp underneath the Kevlar-like coating of breading. Knife in hand, I started to peel the breading off and discovered one of the smallest butterflied shrimp I’ve ever seen. The size was so small you could actually see through them when you held it up with light behind it. It was something I expected to get on the Las Vegas strip from a building brandishing a 99 cent shrimp sign. I took pictures because it was unbelievable compared to the original experience.

Shrimp2 Shrimp1

When the server came back and asked if I was all finished, I asked him what the deal was with changing the product from what they had originally versus the junk they just served. He quickly replied that the chef told the staff they couldn’t keep up with the demand for the original product so they had to switch to a premade product. Then the server rushed to assure me this product was just as good and the customers would be happy since they’d get more shrimp (I think he meant more tails, not more shrimp!) with each order.

Here’s the lesson: If the chef relied on systems to operate his kitchen, the outcome could have been much different. The premade product was not the solution. With the use of a properly organized prep system, the kitchen staff would have been able to keep up with demand. Although the par levels could have been increased to meet demand, the tool would have given him an idea for how to approach the prep procedure in a systematic approach to begin with, instead of trusting gut feelings and ultimately doing everything on the fly or in the eleventh hour.

Next time you do a menu makeover, don’t forget the systems to ensure the success.


Brad Hackert is an independent consultant and owner of Systems Pro Consulting, providing on-site systems implementation support to restaurant owners everywhere. He works in restaurants with independent restaurant owners to teach them how to make SMART Systems work in their restaurants. Brad has worked in every part of the restaurant, handled crisis and business-threatening situations as well employee issues, and he’s a firm follower of systems for business success. Want to kickstart your systems in your restaurant? Call Brad: 1-800-309-6780.


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5 Easy Menu Changes to Make More Money

By David Scott Peters

Fork&Spoon MenuAs you look for ways to make more money in your restaurant, there are many tools you can use to influence purchasing behavior of customers in your restaurant.

Here are 5 easy things you can do to your menu today to increase profitability:

1. Place high-profit items where your customers are most likely to look first on your menu. There have been studies that show where a customer looks first and then the path they take with their eyes. These studies show eye movement for a one, two and three panel menu.

2. Don’t let your menu be a price list. Price list menus have an item name and then to the far right it lists the price all by itself. Stick that price at the end of the item description without a dollar sign and in a smaller font size. Let your guests read the description and want the item first, rather than shop the price they want to pay and then pick the food they will order.

3. If you have categories, such as appetizers, that have 10 items or more in them, understand that the first, second and last items will sell the most in that category. So place your priority (i.e., most profitable) items in these spots to move them and make the most money.

4. Make an item stand out with a box, highlight, star or picture. These items will sell. If you include photos of specific menu items, be prepared to sell a lot of these options. And make sure you profile high-priced, high-profit items since they are most likely to be ordered!

5. Reduce the overall number of items you have on your menu. Fewer menu items mean less money in inventory sitting on your shelves, less waste, less labor and overall more consistent food. Having too much on your menu can cost you a lot of money.

Take any or all of these actions and you will see results like lowered food costs and increased sales. Heck, maybe you’ll experience both!

David Scott Peters is a restaurant expert, speaker, coach and trainer for independent restaurant owners. He is the developer of SMART Systems Pro, an online restaurant management software program helping the independent restaurant owner remain competitive and profitable in an industry boxed in by the big chain restaurants. He is best known as the SMART Systems guy who can walk into any restaurant and find $10,000 in undiscovered cash before he hits the back door… Guaranteed! Learn more at

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Spring Restaurant Workshop Coming Up

Restaurant Workshop Teaches Systems and Shortcuts

Super Early Bird Discount Expires March 7

restaurant expert David Scott PetersRestaurant Expert David Scott Peters teaches everything there is to know about running a profitable restaurant in just three days. It’s the only restaurant workshop that focuses on systems and independent restaurant owners. With his workshop model, Peters eliminates the issues of limited time and money.

What: How to Run a Profitable Restaurant: from Soup to Nuts

When: April 7-9

Where:’s World Headquarters in Phoenix, Arizona

All that’s required to find simple and attainable ways to cut costs is three days out of a restaurant owner’s entire career and the cost to attend. And owners who register for the workshop by March 7 will receive a 50 percent discount off the regular price of tuition to “How to Run a Profitable Restaurant: from Soup to Nuts.”

Peters teaches independent restaurant owners how to use systems to increase their profits and take control of every aspect of their operation. He focuses on his self-developed SMART Systems — Simple, Measurable, Applicable, Repeatable and Trainable. Over the course of three days, Peters provides and teaches complete systems on cost of goods sold, food and beverage controls, human resources and training.

“I tell restaurant owners that if they don’t leave my workshop with at least 1 percentage point in savings off their operating costs, then they were sleeping through the workshop,” said Peters. “Attendees can shave as much as 15-20 percent in costs by implementing the systems I teach. They’re proven systems; the same ones that chains use to perfection.”

Integral to the restaurant workshop, Peters coaches restaurant owners on how to work less and minimize stress, leaving more time for a personal life.

“I’ve never been this excited about the thought of so much work! I can’t wait to get home and get started. The systems will eventually make our daily lives run much smoother,” said Cherie Harris, manager, The Dunes Restaurant, Nags Head, N.C.

Peters trains independent restaurant owners how to solve their daily operations problems, avoid costly mistakes, and maximize their profits and cash reserves.

“My staff and I were pleasantly surprised with the operational aspects. Nuts-and-bolts systems are why we attended. We look forward to making more go to the bottom line,” said John O’Leary, owner of Redwoods Grill and Bar, Chester, N.J.

Independent restaurant owners can register for the workshop at, or call David Scott Peters at 1-877-457-6278, ext. 1.

The 50 percent discount is available to anyone who registers before March 7.


David Scott Peters is a restaurant expert, speaker, coach and trainer for independent restaurant owners. He is the founder of and the developer of SMART Systems Pro, an online restaurant management software program helping the independent restaurant owner remain competitive and profitable in an industry boxed in by the big chain restaurants. He and a team of experienced and passionate coaches help restaurant owners solve their biggest financial and employee challenges so they can run successful and profitable businesses. Learn more at


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Why to Lead with Courage

By Fred Langley

SuccessBoardLeading with courage is a lot easier said than done. But the most important thing to realize is that doing nothing because you’re afraid is worse than doing something you’re afraid of doing.

What you don’t do will often hurt you more than what you do.

You can lead with courage in two ways: intellectually and morally.

Courage helps you make change. It helps you refuse to accept limits and it keeps you from stopping at industry boundaries. This type of courage is intellectual courage and it keeps you ahead of or on pace with change rather than fading into obscurity, doing things as they have always been done.

Sometimes ignorance or not knowing the right path to take is just as good as having intellectual courage. Some of the greenest owners/managers I work with get the best results. They get results by following exactly what we teach without being hampered by the knowledge of what they’ve done in the past. Some of the least successful owners/managers I come across are the ones who are always saying it is impossible.

Having moral courage means you will stand up for your principles. Moral courage is vital for your company culture. Some managers or owners will observe struggles and refuse to solve the problem. These cowards stand on the sidelines and are waiting to take credit for successes and then pass the blame for failures. These actions breed mediocrity. It takes courage to make a stand and say with conviction, “I will not bow to mediocrity, I will not stand for the status quo and being average is our enemy!”

Do your due diligence, but do not falter or delay. Make decisions and plow forward leading the way into the future. Courage is also easier if you are not alone. Strive for common goals and make every day about something bigger than yourself.

A team that is both counting on and backing you at the same time makes it easier to plow forward. Make your goals about others rather than for personal glory. It is always easier to perform a courageous deed for others than to do it for ourselves. The status quo is the path of least resistance, but is also the road everyone else is on. Where do you want to be?

Fred Langley is the director of operations and restaurant coach for As a former chef and restaurant owner, Fred found a new passion in helping other restaurant owners find success with systems and now focuses on it full time.

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